Rinks on Vancouver Island could host NHL games, premier confirms

Rinks on Vancouver Island could host NHL games, premier confirms
WatchIt could be game on BC. If the NHL opts to return this season, games could be played here. Premier John Horgan confirmed he spoke with league commissioner Gary Bettman Tuesday. As Mary Griffin reports, the premier also floated the idea of including venues outside the Lower Mainland.

The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave is tucked away in a Victoria backyard.

It’s where Kenn Shaw and his son, Landen, work on their business, Blade Shades. On Wednesday, they were busy packing up orders. They’re both particularly excited about the possible return of the NHL.

“Bring our game back. It’s getting to the point where I don’t know if I can survive much longer without hockey going on,” Landen said.

B.C. Premier John Horgan said he spoke to NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman Tuesday.  He said his government is working with the NHL and sees an opportunity on the island.

“We’ve heard from others around the league that have other ideas about, perhaps, having all of the games played in British Columbia.  We have WHL rinks in Victoria, in Kamloops, in Kelowna, and Prince George. The Kootenays in Cranbrook has an outstanding facility as well. We have hotel space. The sky is really the limit,” Horgan said at his weekly briefing in Victoria.

Langford Mayor Stew Young said the island is the natural choice, with a number of arenas available, including the “Q” Centre.

“Obviously, Langford would be the best place to play. And we have the “Q” Centre here as well. Because you don’t need crowds. And it’s probably a smaller arena, and a lot cheaper for them to contain and quarantine than it would be in a bigger arena,” Young said.

It all has to meet the approval of BC’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry, who is not giving the idea the thumbs up. Yet.  As it stands today, even hockey players would have to abide by BC’s 14-day isolation rule.

“I think it’s very much in the theoretical phase right now. But, you know, I think we could look at the probabilities and the possibilities if and when they come forward with a proposal,” Henry said Tuesday at the daily COVID-19 briefing.

READ MORE:  16 new cases of COVID-19 in B.C. but no new cases in Island Health

The BC government also said it is working with the Vancouver Canucks.

Although Horgan hinted that a proposal to the league could include rinks outside of Vancouver, the Canucks say their plan is Vancouver focused.



Mary GriffinMary Griffin

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